Cabinet members have been advised of arrangements for ensuring the tracking, oversight and wellbeing of children of compulsory school age who are not receiving their principal education in a mainstream school or academy and whose parents elect to educate them at home.
At their meeting today (Wednesday, 2 October), members were presented with a report outlining a revision to the borough’s elective home education policy, following the publication of revised non-statutory guidance by the Department for Education (DfE) in April this year.
The updated policy is aimed at early years settings, schools and academies, alongside a Parent Guide to Elective Home Education (EHE).
As well as taking into account the new DfE guidance, the changes made to the local policy have been informed by the knowledge of Barnsley’s working practices, data and information held on the population of children on the current Elective Home Education register. It is also based on the findings from a consultation undertaken with parents of the current Elective Home Education cohort of families.
It outlines the reasons why parents may choose home education and encourages parents to speak to the child’s school/academy or the council before making the final decision.
It sets out the responsibilities of the council including the advice and guidance it provides to parents who have chosen to or are choosing to home educate.
It outlines the duty of the council to track, monitor and safeguard children, ensuring they are placed on the EHE register and that education is assessed annually. It also sets out how the council aims to work in partnership with parents in order to ensure all children in Barnsley receive the best possible education, as well as providing clarity on how the situation will be managed if the education is deemed as not being suitable.
The policy and the guidance for parents clarifies that EHE is an option available to parents of children with SEND, however, they must seek the permission of the council if the child’s education provision is in a specialist setting. The council must also make arrangements to review annually any existing EHCP (Education, Health and Care Plan) and provide parents with a pathway to request an assessment for an EHCP.
Cllr Margaret Bruff, Cabinet Spokesperson for People (Children) said: “At the start of September there were 382 children and young people on the Elective Home Education register in Barnsley. The revised policy provides assurance that Barnsley Council will track and monitor all children who are being electively home educated by their families, across the borough, in order to ensure that their educational needs are satisfactorily met and they are safeguarded from any potential harm.”